Nearly fourteen years after my daughters arrived into this world, I still find myself staring at their faces – when they’re talking about their day, when they’re listening to music, when they’re watching a movie. I like when they catch me too, because I know what my face is saying to them: “You are awesome. I’m so proud of you. I’m here for you. I love you.”
I was with my daughter at softball practice. It was pouring rain, but the coach pressed on. “As long as there’s no lightning, we’re practicing!” he barked. I was pretty comfortable watching from afar under the protection of the concession stand’s roof. As the wind and rain picked up, Megan made a nice catch and she immediately looked over to me. Now it was me reading her face: “Did you see that catch, Dad? Pretty good, huh?
A few days later, I was with my other daughter, Emily; just the two of us getting ice cream. She didn’t stop talking for an hour and a half straight. And she was reading my face for reactions – boys, friends, school, even music. She covered it all. I liked a lot of what she said, and when I didn’t, I let her know. These are the teachable moments and she was asking for it. It was a special evening. I remember thinking I was supposed to be at the gym that night, but I didn’t refuse her request to go to Dairy Queen – just think if I had. Oh, what I would have missed.
Dr. Meeker is right. Our kids are asking every day, “What do you think of me?” And we answer. If we’re staring down at our phone, we answer. If we’re rarely around, we answer. And if our eyes meet theirs – over ice cream or through the rain – we tell them, “You’re awesome. I’m so proud of you. I’m here for you. I love you.”